How the Daughter of a Traitor Became a Hero (Skyward Book Review)

You know, I’m not usually one who remembers a lot of author names. A name or two will stick inside my skull and refuse to budge here and there, but overall, I’m the kind of gal who’ll just meander through the stacks and pick up a book that looks interesting. I’ll flip through a few pages, read the back, and either slip it back on the shelf or add it to the heavy pile in my arms.

However, there is one author that I like to keep tabs on and that’s Brandon Sanderson. Why? Because the first book I read of his, Mistborn: The Final Empire, pretty much blew my mind when it came to world building and the fantasy genre. And most of his books have continued to engage and entertain me ever since.

Now, as much as I love Mistborn, that is not what I’ll be reviewing today. Nope! Today, I’m taking a leap towards the stars with the book Skyward.

Book Blurb

(Can we just take a moment to appreciate how awesome this cover is?)

Spensa’s world has been under attack for decades. Now pilots are the heroes of what’s left of the human race, and becoming one has always been Spensa’s dream. Since she was a little girl, she has imagined soaring skyward and proving her bravery. But her fate is intertwined with her father’s–a pilot himself who was killed years ago when he abruptly deserted his team, leaving Spensa’s chances of attending flight school at slim to none.

No one will let Spensa forget what her father did, yet fate works in mysterious ways. Flight school might be a long shot, but she is determined to fly. And an accidental discovery in a long-forgotten cavern might just provide her with a way to claim the stars.

Thoughts on Skyward

While I did enjoy this book, I can’t say that it’s my favorite. Thinking about some of the other books that I’ve reviewed in the past, most especially The Hunt, it’s almost forgettable. Now, don’t get me wrong. There are a lot of things that I appreciated about Skyward. The world building is great and believable. The characters are interesting. The plot has some great twists towards the end of the book and there is some wonderful character growth.

However, there were some problems. The villainous aliens are definitely one dimensional, although mysterious. The main characters also tend to be a little flat. Hilarious, but not as fleshed out as other characters Sanderson has written in the past. I did think Spensa had some fantastic moments (quoting barbaric warriors to her fellow pilots always had me cracking up), but I’ve seen other incredibly complex characters from the mind of Brandon Sanderson, so to me it felt a little on the weak side.

Despite that, I did get lost in the pages and enjoyed the ride of Spensa’s journey. I loved seeing everything through her eyes and really feeling her thoughts in the words and how she views each and every character. If you’re looking for a fun action filled adventure then Skyward is worth checking out. I give the book an 8/10.

About the Author

If you’re into fantasy books and haven’t heard of Brandon Sanderson, I’d honestly be surprised. Ever since he finished the Wheel of Time series, his name has only continued to grow in popularity. He’s won several awards including the David Gemmell Legend Award (Eight times), the Romantic Times Reviews’ Choice award for Best Epic Fantasy (Twice), the Hugo Award, and has hit the New York Times Best Seller List (Fifteen times). Needless to say, he’s been pretty busy! Oh, and he’s got a great podcast called Writing Excuses. You can find out more information on his website.

Book Specs

Author : Brandon Sanderson
Published By : Delacorte Press
Year Published : November 6, 2018
Genre / Tags : Teen, Young Adult, Fiction, Science Fiction
Formats : Hardcover, Paperback, Kindle, Audiobook
# of Pages : 546 pages


Have you read SkyWard? What were your thoughts? I’d love to hear them in the comments!

As always, thanks for stopping by!

A Debut Intergalactic Adventure

Alpha Dawn, a high flying epic Sci-Fi with some “Firefly” vibes (And no, I don’t get any commissions for the links 😊).

Hello friends! I apologize for being absent the past couple of weeks. My life decided to turn into a big thunderstorm of stress and rain on my emotional stability. But all is well! I’m back in the blogging game with this debut self-published novel Alpha Dawn by Morgan R. R. Haze.

Alpha Dawn

Now, I’m going to be real with you. There were some things that I loved about this book and some things that I did not love so much. So, let’s start at the best point.

Alpha Dawn: The Beginning

The beginning of Alpha Dawn hooked me right into its universe centered around Teragene. Whole worlds could be formed by this substance, space ships fueled by it, and people mutated by it. It’s some crazy stuff!

That's crazy

(And invited clever world building especially with the planet Wyatt).

A downside to this vast new galaxy was the need to explain the rules and systems about how it worked (a plague shared by all epics with complex universes). I often felt like the characters explaining their place in the world and the world’s mechanics often slowed down the action. But notwithstanding, I loved the galaxy in this book.

The Characters

I loved the relationship between Jason and Ell. The idea of a man literally falling in love with his ship and people believing him to be off his rocker drew me in. I really enjoyed his and Ell’s history together (so much so, I wish the writers would write a prequel of how the Waylay got her crew together).

hint, hint

I also really enjoyed the history of the crew and how diverse they were. Yet, they worked together towards a common goal. There were a couple of things that did catch me off guard though and not in a good way. The next two paragraphs are spoilers, just a heads up. If you don’t want to be spoiled on the fun, just skip 🙂

Conflict, Conflict, Conflict

When Ell and Jason meet for the first time, I was sitting on the edge of my seat, waiting for drama to be thrown between them. They’ve never seen or touched each other. Ell was described as an awkward human being who’s never been good with people. So, if that’s the case, why was their first kiss so easy? I understand they love each other, but they’ve never even touched! If I was her, I’d have a horrible time sitting next to this attractive man and realizing that I’m married to him. I don’t think I’d be able to kiss him so easily. (Which brings up another question, has she ever kissed anyone before? A first kiss can be SUPER weird!) So, I just had a hard time with that.

Kissing fail

Also, Jason and Peter. The conflict between them was excellent, but I felt like it was resolved too soon! They haven’t really spoken or seen each other in years and suddenly Jason is married with his own family/crew? I’d definitely be thrown for a loop and it would not be so easy for me to get over in just one tussle. It would take weeks if not months for me to think about and come to terms with my relationship with my brother, if ever. Maybe that’s just me, but I felt like that drama could have added more tension throughout the entire book.

Spoiler over 😛

I just felt like there were some great opportunities for page turning, enticing conflict, and it wasn’t explored as much as I would have liked. It sometimes felt too easy. (Another example being the convict they had to turn in who got bloodied up. What if he’d managed to escape?)

I’m just going to add one more pet peeve. I don’t want to thrash the book, because there were some genuine moments that I enjoyed! But I want my reviews to be honest, and I hope, helpful.

If I see the same word used as a descriptor or noun on one page, I get tired of that word. “It was monolithic, comprised of three obelisks, two being smaller than the one located in the middle. The obelisks were long and rectangular, ending in sharp points at either end. On each of the obelisks there were four docking ports which protruded like spikes, one on each side of each obelisk” (280). The word obelisk is repeated a couple more times on that page, but you get the idea. There was a trend in this and it sometimes made it difficult for me to read.

I could go on, but like I said, I don’t want to completely trash the book. I loved the idea of it and there were a few moments that made me chuckle and get excited for what was to come.

Overall Book Rating

Overall, I give this book 3/5 stars. I’ll let you decide on whether you’d like to read it or not, but I am hopeful to see improvements in book two and where the story leads. Alpha Dawn has a great premise and imaginative world building with some fun characters and lots of potential.

Book Blurb:

Galaxy
Photo Credit: Alexander Andrews

“In the far future humanity is in a paradox. The discovery of a dynamic ore has allowed humans to prevent their own extinction by saving their dying world. However, Terra Prime is ultimately consigned to oblivion in an unforeseen cataclysm. A cataclysm which has created the Void. Rather than be curious or fearful of unexplored space, most humans simply perceive the Void at the center of the known universe as the single greatest mystery of the cosmos…”

About the Authors

“Morgan R. R. Haze was born in the Mojave Desert. In such a barren landscape, it’s no wonder imagination to write this story was born. Yet, there is a twist… Morgan R.R. Haze is not one, but three siblings who use their penned name to write novels together.

While they were raised by the same parents, their life experiences have been vastly different: Love, extreme loss, being a wife, a husband, a mother, and a widower; being a manager, a government employee, a pharmaceutical technician, a caregiver, a teacher, a college student, and a humble janitor; all while experiencing or observing the kindness, the prejudice, the generosity, the egotism, the thoughtfulness, or the shallowness which humans are capable of, has brought a diverse perspective to this collective authorship.

Though their preferred genre to write in is Sci-Fi, they like to dabble in mystery and exploring the human condition, all told through the multi-perspective-first-person experience. Hearing the internal thoughts or conflicts within a character during their journey can help someone to empathize with them. Morgan R. R. Haze hopes you will enjoy getting to know the characters of the Teragene Universe as much as they did.” (Excerpt taken from back of Alpha Dawn).

Thanks for taking the time to read my blog! If you have any book recommendations please say so in the comments! Or if you’d like me to review your own book, please see my Review Policy and Review Request Pages. For more of my reviews, click here.

Source:

Haze, Morgan R. R. Alpha Dawn: Book one of the Teragene Chronicles. Copy edited by Timothy A. Martinez, Alpha Dawn Copyright. 2018. https://www.amazon.com/Alpha-Dawn-Book-Teragene-Chronicles/dp/1522074325